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I am a horse lover and owner who enjoys braiding custom jewelry for fellow owners from the hair of their horse(s) — living or deceased, one horse or many. I make 4, 6, 8, 9, and 12-ply braids and use sterling silver findings (clasps, end caps, charms, and rings). The 4 ply is round, the 6-ply is half round (picture a capital D or a loaf of bread); the 9-ply is flat, the 12-ply is square; and the 8-plies are round or square. I braid single color braids or patterned braids. For example, if you provide black and white hair, I can mix the two colors and make a gray braid or I can keep the colors separate and braid a pattern.
As far as my experience in “the business,” I can definitely say that it takes a village to raise a horsehair jeweler! It took me six years to find Annette, a braider within driving distance of my home willing to give me a lesson. Afterwards I found Delanor, my wonderful jewelry mentor, who owns the Koi Gallery at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville (KY). Delanor introduced me to the Women’s Club of Louisville and the Louisville Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She suggested that I take business cards and brochures to certain events. My friend Letha designed them. Terry, my CPA, showed me how to “keep books.” My horse’s body worker, Kelly, also a client, recommended seeking out the services of a Small Business Development Center. The SBDC in New Albany (IN) assigned the creation of a business plan, a rack card, and an Internet presence. Their creation led me back to Letha and onto Dede, a client and professional photographer. My local library where I introduced me to wordpress.com and assisted me in getting this web site up and running. My fellow Southern Indiana Writers provided their editorial services. Marilyn, a former jewelry store chain owner, opened my business account at the bank. From the very beginning, my neighbor Christopher has helped me improve my computer skills and my husband Jim has lent his unfailing support.
Birthing a new business has been an exercise in faith and a grand adventure frought with challenges and successes. I am grateful to everyone above, as well as to my many unmentioned friends and clients who refer my work to the horse owners they know, thus spurring me ever onward.
During the summer of 2014, I received an Individual Artist Program grant from the Indiana Arts Commission! The $2,000 award helped finance my recent trip to Alberta, Canada to study master horse hair worker Donna. It was a wonderful experience. On my one day off (on my own dime) I enjoyed a glorious 5-hour trail ride at Waterton National Park. Note the great swish of Blue’s tail!
As I become proficient with the required new skills, I will add new creations to my jewelry line.
During 2015, due to the advice of the SBDC and SCORE (a support organization for entrepreneurs offered by retired business people), I started a business Facebook page. My goal for 2016 is to get more active on it.
Whew, it’s December, 2016 already! I spent a good part of the year working on my horse memoir which I will submit to the publisher by the end of the month. Next year I look forward to selling horse tail jewelry and my book of horse tales!